If the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result, then anyone claiming after each delay or modification to Obamacare that this one is the last ought expect the serious looking dudes in white coats to come knocking soon, because sorry my lad (or lass, to be inclusive), one thing is clear at this point: you’re certifiably nuts.
It is my duty to report that the Obama Administration, in further recognition that a ship with a gaping hole in the hull can tread water only so long, is mulling yet another change to its health care law that keeps on giving; this time in the shape of another extension to pre-existing insurance policies in a push to make the transition onto the federal exchanges as turbulence-free as possible. It’s the Dramamine to your air-sickness. You’re left discombobulated long enough for the captain to steady the plane–or crater the thing, who knows.
While the last extension of pre-existing plans was geared to last just a year, scuttlebutt surrounding this push suggests that, in the words of Avalere Health CEO Dan Mendelson, the “Obama administration may decide to let policyholders keep their coverage for an additional three years”. According to my brutish, right-wing nut-job math, that puts the transition out to ’15…’16…2017. And wouldn’t you know it, that falls several months after the next presidential election. Isn’t that just a happy coincidence?
Of particular annoyance to this writer–besides the incandescently cynical nature of delaying anything until after an election where the consequences of a Party’s actions are fleshed out– is the “…may decide to let…” part of that statement. Insurance policies that citizens purchase are mutually agreed upon contracts that they enter into with the company providing the coverage. Presumably, people were happy with such policies as they continued to pay for and renew them.
What’s happening now is that the government, discontent to remain idle in such an enterprise, is strong arming their way onto the field, making decrees behind closed doors about the adequacy of these policies that ought rightfully be left to the parties involved in them. The distance between the individual and a government that seeks to adjudicate decisions that don’t belong to it decreases perceptibly by the year. If government can seize for itself a spot at the health care table that was originally set for two–citizen and coverage provider–it can do whatever it wishes in other areas as well.
These are the “gradual and silent encroachments of those in power” that James Madison warned us of hundreds of years ago. Government doesn’t grab for power all at once. It does so gently and under the guise of caring for you. After all, if they’re “caring” for you, that employs an air of legitimacy to the endeavor.
People like the thought of being taken care of. Except this care bears a double edge: we’re forced to abdicate important decisions about our health care policies to the government now, while down the road we risk losing the ability to make decisions for ourselves altogether. Power lost to government is not wrestled back. We’d do better to maintain it for ourselves in the first place.
It is to weep.